Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Rutting

  • Bonner Powell
  • Kristine O. EvansEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1906-1

Synonyms

Definition

The periodically recurring sexual excitement of mammalian species including cervids (e.g., deer, sheep, goats), elephants, and other mammals.

Introduction

The term rutting (i.e., the behavior of mammals during the rut) is derived from the Latin word “rugire, meaning to roar. This phenomenon occurs in deer, goats, sheep, camels, bison, moose, elephants, and several other mammals and is particularly evident in species of the Cervidae family. Due to changes in photoperiod, hormones in animals fluctuate, resulting in increased testosterone levels in males and triggering onset of rutting behavior. Similarly, increases in estrogen and other hormones in females triggers onset of estrous in many species. Increased testosterone levels increases male aggression during peak rutting times, which coincides and sometimes releases estrous in females of rutting species.

During non-breeding periods males of some rutting species can be found in...

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References

  1. Bhat, B. A., Shah, G. M., Jan, U., Ahangar, F. A., & Fazili, M. (2009). Observations on rutting behaviour of Hangul deer Cervus elaphus hanglu (Cetartiodactyla: Cervidae) in Dachigam National Park, Kashmir, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 1(6), 355–357.  https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.o2125.355-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ganswindt, A., Rasmussen, H. B., Heistermann, M., & Hodges, J. K. (2004). The sexually active states of free-ranging male African elephants (Loxodonta africana): Defining musth and non-musth using endocrinology, physical signals, and behavior. Hormones and Behavior, 47(1), 83–91. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0018506X0400203X.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  5. Murphy, B. P., Miller, K. V., & Marchinton, R. L. (1994). Sources of reproductive chemosignals in female white-tailed deer. Journal of Mammalogy, 75(3), 781–786.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1382531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Pruitt, W. O. (1954). Rutting behavior of the whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Journal of Mammalogy, 35(1), 129–130.  https://doi.org/10.2307/1376103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and AquacultureMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mystera M. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Marine Mammal StudiesGulfportUSA